Eoin Brennan reports from Cusack Park
THERE WAS CERTAINLY no doubting the outcome of the Clare Senior Hurling Championship Final this time around as Sixmilebridge took full advantage of their second opportunity to secure a third title in five years in Cusack Park, Ennis this afternoon.
In a complete role reversal from the drawn game seven days earlier in which newcomers Clooney-Quin held the whip hand for the majority, this time Sixmilebridge were the dominant side from the outset.
Carving out a two point half-time cushion into the conditions, the 13-time winners were boosted by a Brian Corry goal on the restart as they powered home to victory.
Nine different scorers over the hour demonstrated a far hungrier and more determined ‘Bridge challenge in front of an increased attendance of 5,892, with all but three points of their 1-20 total stemming from play in contrast to Clooney-Quin who depended largely on championship top scorer Peter Duggan (2-76 in seven matches) to keep them in touch from placed balls.
Fellow county senior Seadna Morey was Duggan’s shadower and that he ended up with the Man-of-the-Match accolade emphasised the influence that tactic had on this replay.
Duggan fired six of Clooney-Quin’s seven first half points from dead balls while all but one of Sixmilebridge’s came from play as they took a 0-9 to 0-7 advantage into the break.
With the triumvirate of Jamie Shanahan, Shane Golden and Brian Corry ever-threatening, Sixmilebridge stepped on the gas on the restart, with the latter putting clear daylight between the sides with a 33rd minute goal on their way to a 1-11 to 0-07 cushion.
That seven point margin would be maintained into the final quarter despite the best efforts of Duggan and Fergal Lynch.
And with the finish line in sight, a more experienced Sixmilebridge closed out the contest, with five of the next six points, thanks to Golden (2), Shanahan, Corry and substitute Cathal Lynch before Clooney-Quin grabbed an injury-time consolation goal through Michael Corry.
Sixmilebridge will now hope to follow in Munster Club champions Ballyea’s footsteps when they face the winner of Ballygunner (Waterford) v Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) in the provincial semi-final on away soil in a fortnight’s time.
Scorers for Sixmilebridge: Jamie Shanahan (3f), Shane Golden 0-5 each; Brian Corry 1-1; Alan Mulready 0-3; Niall Gilligan 0-2; Aidan Quilligan, Cathal Malone, Conor Deasy, Cathal Lynch 0-1 each
Scorers for Clooney-Quin: Peter Duggan 0-10 (6f, 2’65, 1s/l); Michael Corry 1-1; Ryan Taylor, Jimmy Corry, Fergal Lynch 0-1
1. Derek Fahy
2. Noel Purcell
7. Paidi Fitzpatrick (Captain)
4. Barry Fitzpatrick
3. Aidan Quilligan
5. Caimin Morey
6. Seadna Morey
9. Conor Deasy
11. Jamie Shanahan
10. Cathal Malone
18. Niall Gilligan
12. Shane Golden
13. Brian Corry
14. Alex Morey
15. Alan Mulready
20. Cathal Lynch for Gilligan (48)
19. Gavin Whyte for A. Morey (52)
8. Brian Carey for Deasy (59)
17. Kevin Lynch for C. Morey (60)
1. Keith Hogan
4. Ruaidhri McNamara
3. Shane McNamara
2. Bryan McInerney
5. Cillian Duggan
6. Conor Harrison
8. Donnchadh Murphy
7. Padraig Ward
10. Peter Duggan
9. Ryan Taylor
11. Michael Corry
12. Tadhg Shanahan
13. Ronan O’Donnel
14. Fergal Lynch (Captain)
15. Jimmy Corry
23. Daire Hannon for Shanahan (37)
17. David Kennedy for Murphy (60)
Referee: Rory Hickey (Éire Óg)
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